|Falco||naumanni||EU||sw, c, e|
Members of the genus falco are mostly medium-sized falcons, but vary from the large peregrine falcon to the small American kestrel. The wings are long and pointed and used almost continuously during flight. The bill is short, powerful, and with a distinct ‘tooth’ on each side. Most falcons of this group have a black teardrop-shaped ‘mustache’ mark on each side of the head. Falcons are fastflying birds of open country and are famous for attaining high speeds as they dive from high altitudes to knock birds out of the air.
Listen to the sound of Lesser Kestrel
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
|wingspan min.:||63||cm||wingspan max.:||72||cm|
|size min.:||27||cm||size max.:||33||cm|
|incubation min.:||28||days||incubation max.:||29||days|
|fledging min.:||27||days||fledging max.:||29||days|
Video Lesser Kestrel
Falco naumanni breeds in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar (to UK), France, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYRO Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Palestinian Authority Territories, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia. Birds winter in southern Spain, southern Turkey, Malta and across much of Africa, particularly South Africa.
The world breeding population of the Lesser Kestrel is estimated the world breeding population of the Lesser Kestrel to be 650,000-800,000 pairs. The European population is now estimated at only 15,000-20,000 pairs, and all west Palearctic breeding populations for which data are available have declined during the last thirty years, some dramatically. Population data for Turkey and the former USSR are very sparse.
Since the 1960s populations of Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni throughout the western Palearctic have declined dramatically. This decline may be attributed to a number of factors including restoration and demolition of older buildings (reducing nest-site availability), the urbanisation of formerly open areas (destroying important feeding areas) and intensification of agricultural practices (loss of feeding sites and a reduction in prey availability). Other threats to the Lesser Kestrel include poisoning by pesticides, human persecution and interspecific competition.
Migrates in both autumn and spring on broad fronts, extending from Atlantic into Asia, with numbers at narrow sea-crossings small. Surprisingly, not often seen in autumn, and in Palearctic always in rather low numbers then, but occurs abundantly on leisurely spring passage when conspicuous in large, loose flocks. In autumn probably crosses Mediterranean-Sahara and Middle East in rapid non-stop flights of at least 2400 km and at high altitudes between breeding grounds and northern tropics of Africa. In spring, large diurnal migrations at low altitudes, formerly involving thousands of birds, noted over such widely separated regions as Senegal, Egypt, Iraq, and Kuwait.
Some European and north-west African breeding sites abandoned late July and most by mid-August. Main autumn passage from Europe late August to late September. Spring return begins late January in Kenya, and major northward movement Senegal in third week February. Passage at peak through Mediterranean basin from mid-March to early April, with some continuing into early May; main arrivals in breeding areas mid-February in Morocco, March in Spain and Greece, April in central Europe and much of Russia.
The bulk of the western Palearctic population winters in Africa south of the Sahara, excluding the Congo basin and Cameroon (Louette 1981). However, a proportion of adults winters in southern Spain, southern Turkey and north-west Africa. The number of birds wintering in Spain appears to depend upon the availability of food, which is in turn dependent upon climatic factors. Information on wintering numbers in West Africa is limited, but it is possible that this region holds lower densities than other African winter quarters. In eastern Africa, Lesser Kestrels winter from Ethiopia and possibly Somalia, south to South Africa, with large numbers occurring in the highlands of western and central Kenya and in the less arid parts of eastern Kenya and northern Tanzania. The main wintering areas lie from Zimbabwe south to Botswana and, especially, South Africa.